Hetzner Cloud Review: Revisited in 2020

Hetzner has added things like load balancers and block storage to its Hetzner Cloud. It is still a great VPS provider. Learn more in my updated review


June 18, 2020 - 5 min read
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Hetzner Cloud Review: Revisited in 2020

Note: This is not sponsored in any way and I have received no compensation from Hetzner.

Update about Load balancers
A few days after I posted this article Hetzner launched a beta of load balancers.

It has now been well over two years since my Hetzner Cloud Review and I thought it was time to post an updated one. I am still a happy customer at Hetzner. There has been quite a few updates since then. Hetzner Cloud now has an even nicer interface, block storage, private networks, dedicated CPU offerings and a brand new server line with AMD EPYC processors. They also have a data center in Finland now.

Back in 2018 Hetzner Cloud was in my humble opinion the best value VPS provider out there. I believe that this might still be true today. There are a couple of providers now which come close price wise but overall I still think Hetzner is #1.

My current main VPS is a CX21 with 2 CPU cores, 8GB RAM and 80GB of NVM disk. It is running quite a few things and has been chugging along now for a long time. I've had no serious downtime and only a couple of reboots here and there. Overall it has been rock solid and performance has been excellent. One of the fears of 2018 was that since Hetzner Cloud was new it would quickly get oversold and slow down considerably. I'm happy to say that this is not the case and there has been no evidence of any noisy neighbours on any of my servers.

I like to compare things to DigitalOcean since they are really the servers to beat. They are simple, have great features and lots of goodies like Block storage, Hosted databases, and managed Kubernetes.

Let's compare the cheapest servers available to get started. I ran a couple of quick Geekbench 5 benchmarks to gauge the performance of each server as well.

HetznerDigitalOcean
ServerCX11Standard 1GB Droplet
CPU ArchitectureIntel SkylakeIntel Skylake
Disk typeNVMSSD
CPU MHz21002300
CPU Cores11
RAM2 GB1 GB
Disk space20 GB25 GB
Traffic20 TB1 TB
Geographic locationGermany, FinlandUSA, Europe, Asia
Price$2.71$5
Geekbench (single core)648713
Geekbench (multi core)682710

So what are we looking at here? With Hetzner you get twice the RAM, 20 times the transfer, slightly lower clock speed at almost half the price of the Digital Ocean droplet. Now, DigitalOcean has a lot more to offer like different kind of server types, managed databases, object storage, load balancers and so on. Hetzner only has their servers, block storage and private networking. However, it is bang-for-buck unquestionable that Hetzners offering remains exceptionally good.

AMD EPYC

Hetzner has a new kind of VPS with AMD EPYC CPUs. These are brand new and became available in early 2020. These are essentially "souped up" versions of the other servers. Each of the previous servers has an EPYC counterpart. For example, here is a comparison between the CX31 and its EPYC sibling the CPX31. I also added a similar DigitalOcean droplet for comparison.

CX31CPX31DigitalOcean
CPU ArchitectureIntel SkylakeAMD EPYCIntel Skylake
CPU Cores244
RAM8 GB8 GB8 GB
Disk space80 GB160 GB160 GB
Traffic20 TB20 TB5 TB
Price$9.59$13.37$40
Geekbench(single core)729608605
Geekbench(multi core)143118222077

So what you get is twice the CPU cores and twice the disk space for less than 50% additional money. The performance per core seem to be lower on the EPYC architecture however. I did one final benchmark to compare the CPX31 to the next level of Skylake VPS:

CPX31CX41
CPU ArchitectureAMC EPYCIntel Skylake
CPU Cores44
RAM8 GB16 GB
Disk space160 GB160 GB
Price$13.37$17.95
Geekbench (single core)608649
Geekbench (multi core)18222168

So what we are looking at here is about 30% more money for 15% additional multi core performance and twice the RAM. This looks like a great upgrade path to me when you do run out of RAM on your EPYC server.

What about other alternatives then? DigitalOcean is not the only VPS provider out there. I did a couple of other comparisons to popular VPS platforms:

HetznerUpCloudAmazon Lightsail
CPU ArchitectureAMD EPYCIntel SkylakeIntel Broadwell
CPU Cores442
RAM8 GB8 GB8 GB
Disk space160 GB160 GB160 GB
Traffic20 TB5 TB5 TB
Price$13.37$40$40
Geekbench(single core)608639605
Geekbench(multi core)182222152077

Block storage

Hetzner now also has block storage. They do not offer object storage however. The difference between block and object storage is that block storage is mountable as volumes while object storage is more like Amazon S3. Let's compare Hetzner to DigitalOcean once again. I also ran a couple of naive read/write tests to gauge performance. Please don't take these as exact numbers but as a rough estimate.

HeztnerDigitalOcean
Storage classSSDSSD
ReplicationYesYes
Minimum volume size10 GB1 GB
Maximum volume size10 TB16 TB
Maximum volumes per server167
Read performance309 MB/s310 MB/s
Write performance284 MB/s168 MB/s
Price/GB$0.04$0.1

Hetzner is about half the price of DigitalOcean while performance remains excellent.

Unfair comparison

So we have established that the price/performance ratio of the Hetzner VPS offering is superior to popular platforms such as DigitalOcean, but that is not an entirely fair comparison. DigitalOcean has a lot more to offer than just "bare metal" virtual servers. If you bear with me here we are going to do one final table to compare features:

HetznerDigitalOcean
Block storageYesYes
Private networkingYesYes
BackupsYesYes
SnapshotsYesYes
Floating IPsYesYes
Server graphsYesYes
APIYesYes
Object storageNoYes
CDNNoYes
Load balancersYes(in beta)Yes
Managed databasesNoYes
Managed KubernetesNoYes
DNSNoYes
Docker registryNoYes
Data centers on multiple continentsNoYes

DigitalOcean also offers flexible server plans with better CPU or more RAM and such. They also have managed databases as well as Kubernetes. In my opinion the most important part is that DigitalOcean offers deployment on other continents than Europe. If you choose Hetzner you can either deploy your servers in Germany or Finland. On DigitalOcean you have the option of New York, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, London, Frankfurt, Toronto and Bangalore.

I don't know what Hetzner is planning on doing in the future, but I don't think it is reasonable to expect them to introduce features like managed databases. Hetzner does have some managed servers but the vast majority of their services are "bare metal" servers. I wouldn't hold out for any kind of expansion into other continents either, especially not these days.

There are some others offering competitive pricing like OVH and Genesis. I might take a look at these in a future post.

Conclusion

Hetzner Cloud remains a very competitive service when you need a "bare metal" VPS at the lowest possible price and you still get amazing performance. If you're ok with hosting your applications in Europe and you don't need anything fancy like managed Kubernetes then you simply cannot go wrong with Hetzner. I remain a happy customer myself and I see no reason at all to look elsewhere at this time.

Update

Since this article was posted I've been informed of something that you might want to think about. Apparently the Hetzner Cloud team does not do support at night. That is only for dedicated servers. So if you have a hardware issue you might have to wait until 7 am the next morning Germany time to get it fixed. Keep in mind that I have not confirmed this information with Hetzner.

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